A house is no home unless it contain food and fire for the mind as well as for the body. — Margaret Fuller

New York City, New York

July 16th, 1937

Upon returning to the USA it struck Rex, and not for the first time, how little his apartment felt like home. Same pile of mail and withered plant in the short hallway off the door. Low light filtering in, seeping through the buildings crammed either side to his. Candles wilting little flows of wax down holders, because he had been working when the fifth and final electricity bill rolled around and subsequently it had cut off.

But in his heart, Rex knew it wasn't the bleak apartment that didn't feel like home. Home meant something different to him now... meant the ever changing landscape of the archipelago, meant the comforting drone of engines that were persistently breaking down, throwing rotors or just refusing to start up in the morning... meant a certain red-haired, brilliant, fiery scientist.

Rex didn't even want to think about what else he'd left behind on Isla Variatas. Had it not been for Lucy the conclusion of the adventures of the past few weeks might have left Rex Chance a drained man. He had gone to the islands to find his long lost father... on the way winding up defending the world, risking his life, giving his heart away not only to the love of his life but to the ferocious loyalty of Wolf... and now, with the action behind him, he ddin't know what to do. During the journey back to the USA Lucy had alternately given him space, talked it over with him, listened quietly while he ranted, and occasionally reached out with a hug or a hand in comfort to the stoic former journalist. Despite her presence the wounds inflicted into Rex's soul hadn't healed over. Yes, he had saved the world. Yes, he still had Lucy, perhaps now the single most important thing in his life now. But having lost his father and his best friend in the process wasn't something Rex could easily brush off.

He felt like he hadn't slept the entire time they'd travelled. He saw Lucy into a hotel - he would have had her stay with him but that was Lucy, proper as you could ever ask for. He headed for his apartment, searched everywhere for his key, stumbled down the hallway, hauled off his boots, belt and shirt and collapsed facefirst on the sofa. He didn't care when a light layer of dust arose. He had given everything in the past two months and now all he wanted to do was lie where he was and forget the world that had weighed so heavily upon him.

The dreams had other ideas. Mostly they were flashes of combat - of the Impossible Creature kind and the human kind. Sometimes Lucy called to him. Sometimes it was Wolf. Sometimes he saw glimpses of his companion, swimming or stalking or jumping, one of his jaw-dropping hurtling leaps that made him look like he was about to sprout wings and take off.

"Argh!" Rex sat up after the ninth time he awoke from a dream and thumped his fist into a cushion. Mistake - he coughed as a new dust cloud enveloped him. He leaped off the sofa and stalked for the door, not even pausing for his boots.

Outside the city never slept. Shouts, blaring radios, engines... Rex wondered blearily what people were doing awake this far advance of dawn. But then, he was barefoot, shirtless and stalking through the streets of New York, who was he to judge? He squinted up at the looming, oppressive buildings and felt his skin crawl. What was he doing here? "Here" was where he had been dropped off all those years ago by his father's contact and after growing up here he'd never gotten around to moving, since his job had taken him all around the world. Rex roamed aimlessly until the nearest open space, Central Park, called his name. He felt himself relax as soon as he felt grass underfoot and the trees whispering in the breeze overhead. His pace dropped from a headlong rush to a slow amble, zigzagging around the shrubs and paths and keeping away from the lights. He didn't know how long he circled the park for before he realized he no longer belonged in the city... maybe he never had.

"Lucy? Are you awake?" There was a considerable delay before she answered the door, barely looking surprised to see Rex wearing only his trousers, eyes bloodshot and hair dishevelled. "Mm, I thought it'd be you. Aren't you cold?" She waved him into her room and found a bathrobe for him. He paced around her suite while she quietly took a seat, waiting for him to wear down his energy.

"I don't think I should have come back here, Lucy." Rex began, pausing for a brief moment to look out Lucy's window. Ever the voice of reason, she attempted to placate him. "Rex, you've only been back for a few hours, and by the looks of it, you haven't gotten a lot of sleep." She pointed out. Or much in the way of a bath, she added silently. Rex paced onward. "It's like when we were back on the islands and there was something about to attack our base, Lucy. I could feel it. I knew it wasn't right. This - it isn't right. It's just the same as then."

He did possess undeniably good instincts, Lucy had to admit to herself - but this wasn't a war anymore. Rex was going to have to learn to adapt now he was back in the real world. While Lucy had no doubts he could, since he coped with anything, the question was would he want to.

"Rex, please." She reached out for him and grasped his tough, calloused hand. That brought him up short, and he paused to stare down at her, breath catching in his throat. She was more beautiful than usual in the very faint light signalling the onset of dawn. "Please give this life a chance." She went on softly, standing up. He still towered over her, and she was very aware of his closeness, the warmth that radiated from his bare chest and the intense look in his brown eyes. She shouldn't have stayed where she was, having a premonition herself of what was going to happen, but her willpower failed her. Or maybe she was simply where she wanted to be, difficult as it was to admit it.

He wrapped his free hand around her neck and pulled her closer, half expecting her to resist - she didn't. He bent his head to kiss her and let every feeling he'd ever had for her spill into the kiss until they both had to break, gasping for air. Cupping her lovely face with both hands, Rex Chance resigned himself, and kissed her once more, slowly, sadly. He shouldn't have done this in the first place, knowing how he felt about her. It obly made it harder.

"Lucy Willing, I love you." He looked searchingly into her green eyes as he said it, his voice heavy. "But I can't give anything between us what you deserve until I fix up myself. You deserve better than half a man, Lucy. When I put myself back together, I'm going to come back for you."

Lucy had to fight not to cling to him. However much she knew it would hurt when he was gone, she wanted to have him, half or whole, to explore the promise of that first kiss. "Where will you go?" She asked, willing her voice to sound normal. She didn't think either of them believed her effort though.

He let her go with extreme reluctance, stepping away from her welcome embrace. He'd finally cracked the shell of the tough, independent Lucy Willing and he didn't want things to end here, either. But he knew they had to.

"I don't know." He sighed. "Out of the country maybe." He couldn't resist stroking her cheek one last time. "I'll always be thinking of you, though." A deep breath - go now or he never would. "Goodbye, Lucy."

He slipped out of the door, out of Lucy's life, and as his footsteps faded she knew she'd wait for him, no matter how long it took.

A/N.. well, to any fans of the original story, hello again :) I always planned one day to continue my IC story, and tonight the setting was right. Now I am running Windows 7 I cannot seem to get Impossible Creatures to work and in missing the game I find myself re-reading the fic, pouring over the wonderful fanart the very talented C-t-elder did while I was writing it, and basically daydreaming about the characters that still mean the world to me.

I can't promise I'll update constantly, and there will be gaps in between, but there are elements of this story writing themselves in my mind and sooner or later, I'll have to write them to rid myself of them :P If you're still along for the ride - thanks!